Propaganda Questions

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waynegramlich
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Propaganda Questions

Post by waynegramlich » Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:01 am

I am very intrigued by your propaganda PCB service and I have a few questions to ask? I will ask the questions here in hopes that other people have similar questions.

I am a robotics hobbyist and have developed a series of compatible boards around the Atmel AVR and Microchip PIC microcontrollers. The system is called RoboBricks2, since this is the second version of the system. All of these modules are interconnected via a 10-wire ribbon cable and intercommunicate at 500kbps using CAN bus transceivers (similar to RS-485, but a little better.) The URL for RoboBricks2 is http://gramlich.net/projects/rb2/index.html. There are literally several dozen modules (http://gramlich.net/projects/rb2/modules.html.) For each module version, I post the schematics, parts list, "Gerber" (RS-274X) files and the "Excellon" drill files along with any appropriate firmware for the micro controller (e.g. .asm, .lst, .hex, etc.) So, clearly I am operating this project as open source and, hence, it may be a good fit for the Propaganda service.

My modules come in standard dimensions of either 1.25"x2.50" or 2.50"x2.50". For people who want to get a panel of boards sent off to a PCB manufacturer I have a web page (http://gramlich.net/projects/rb2/custom_pcbs) that allows someone to select some modules, and I will generate a panel of them suitable for shipping off to a PCB manufacture. With the Propaganda service, I can easily fit up to 4 of the 1.25"x1.25" boards on a single 10cm x 10cm Propaganda board. Is panelization allowed with the Propaganda service?

I am a total Linux bigot and do all of my project development on Linux. When I got started in the early 1990's, the existing tools for PCB design on Linux were pretty non-existent. I wound up writing my on PCB tools to draw schematics and layout PCB's. The software is called HobECAD (http://gramlich.net/projects/hobecad/index.html) and it is really quite crude. Eventually, I want to switch over to an open source PCB software package such as gEDA or KiCAD. Does Propaganda have any requirements on schematics and board file formats for open source projects?

Most of my boards have a dedicated microcontroller on it that needs firmware in order to make it work. When I got started, there was no Linux C compiler for the Microchip PIC micro controllers. I eventually got tired of writing in assembler and wound up writing my own C-like language (not C though) to write my code in. For the Propaganda service are there any requirements on the firmware file formats?

Lastly, while I try to document my boards as best as possible, sometimes the documentation is less than complete. What level of documentation does the Propaganda service require?

Obviously, I find the Propaganda service intriguing and I would be very interested in putting most of my modules into it (if they qualify.)

Thank you for your time.

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esp
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Re: Propaganda Questions

Post by esp » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:18 pm

Our propaganda service are for one design only without panelizing, You may check our trinity bundle which gives discount.

We welcome open source project, regardless of the depth of documentation. There is no rigid guideline fo the project doc, your document is well above any expectation. It will be a honor for us to host experienced designer like you, just let us know how we can suit your needs.

For the Robot Bricks, we have a very similar idea which is called electronic brick now. It is a new series and will be developed more complete. http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/electr ... -c-44.html Is there a chance to make our designs compatible one way or another?

We could help manufacture and stock the Kits or PCB, instead of taking scattered order. There will be remarkable discount for multiple designs, and drop shipping is available too. Please let me know if you are interested. Thanks!

waynegramlich
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Re: Propaganda Questions

Post by waynegramlich » Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:12 am

ESP wrote:Our propaganda service are for one design only without panelizing, You may check our trinity bundle which gives discount.
Alas, given the small size of my boards (1.25"x2.50"), three boards for $89 (plus shipping) is not competitive with other prototyping service out there that allow unlimited panelization. I can fit 7 of my boards on a 100mm x 160mm prototype service from eastern Europe for $60 (shipping included.) So, I'll have to take a pass at your Trinity service.
We welcome open source project, regardless of the depth of documentation. There is no rigid guideline fo the project doc, your document is well above any expectation. It will be a honor for us to host experienced designer like you, just let us know how we can suit your needs.
Some people have seen projects that I've built out of RoboBricks2 and have asked for some boards. The best I can do is point them at my panelization web page and suggest a PCB vendor or two. It looks like you folks are willing to manage a small inventory and drop ship, which would be a perfect fit. RoboBricks2 are 100% through hole construction (no surface mount) to make it easier for hobbyists to build. Drop shipping boards and/or kits could work out very well.
For the Robot Bricks, we have a very similar idea which is called electronic brick now. It is a new series and will be developed more complete. http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/electr ... -c-44.html Is there a chance to make our designs compatible one way or another?


To the best of my knowledge, your brick boards are already 100% compatible with my IO8 module. I use a 3-pin MTA polarized connector, but an unpolarized connector works. VCC is on the center pin. This is the same pin-out used by hobby servos.
We could help manufacture and stock the Kits or PCB, instead of taking scattered order. There will be remarkable discount for multiple designs, and drop shipping is available too. Please let me know if you are interested. Thanks!
I am interested. Given the small size of my boards and how many I have, paying $30 to start each board onto your catalog starts to add up in a hurry, I doubt I could do more than about 1/month given my current lack of employment.

We can continue to disucss this here or via more private E-mail if you wish. My E-mail is Wayne at Gramlich dot Net. Your choice.

manton
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Re: Propaganda Questions

Post by manton » Sun Jun 21, 2009 3:46 am

Alas, given the small size of my boards (1.25"x2.50"), three boards for $89 (plus shipping) is not competitive with other prototyping service out there that allow unlimited panelization. I can fit 7 of my boards on a 100mm x 160mm prototype service from eastern Europe for $60 (shipping included.) So, I'll have to take a pass at your Trinity service.
I think you have missed the point of their Trinity service. It allows you to panelize 3 different designs, with a total area of up to 500 sq cm. So the number of boards you get depends on the panelized area. So per your example of a 1.25"x2.5" board, this is about 21 sq cm, so you would get 24 boards.

Mike
Michael Anton
See my site for some projects: http://manton.wikidot.com

waynegramlich
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Re: Propaganda Questions

Post by waynegramlich » Sun Jun 21, 2009 4:01 am

manton wrote: I think you have missed the point of their Trinity service. It allows you to panelize 3 different designs, with a total area of up to 500 sq cm. So the number of boards you get depends on the panelized area. So per your example of a 1.25"x2.5" board, this is about 21 sq cm, so you would get 24 boards.
You are correct, I did misunderstand. That is much more competitive. You might want to clarify your description a little. With the Trinity service, I would still wind up with a minimum of 8 boards of the same, which is a bit much for me, but maybe I could find a few more takers to spread the costs around. Hmmm....

-Wayne

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